During final four weekend in Houston, we had an opportunity to evaluate two session of the 2023 USA Basketball Jr. National Team Mini-Camp at B.T. Washington (Houston). Here are ten standouts (listed alphabetically) we saw that caught our eye for the first tome or displayed marked improvement since the last time we had an opportunity to evaluate them.
Airious “Ace” Bailey, McEachern (Covington, Ga.) 6-9 PF 2024
Versatile talent who makes his mark on both ends of the floor. Bailey jumps out as a prospect with his combination of size, athleticism and explosiveness. Bailey can face up and score or dominate around the basket with quick, precise moves. Bailey got some consideration for the best long-term prospect in attendance. He’s committed to Rutgers, where he’s the program’s most highly-regarded recruit since Phil Sellers came out of Jefferson (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in 1972.
Jason Crowe Jr., Lynwood (Calif.) 6-3 PG 2026
This young point guard got plenty of attention during the high school season for his scoring exploits (third most single-season points in California history in any class), but he entered this event to feel out his national competition and get the experience of playing in this type of setting. Let’s just say he had no problem adjusting his game from where he’s a primary scorer (36 ppg.). Crowe found his seams and creases, didn’t waste any time on unnecessary dribbles, and hit the up man consistently with snap passes. Crowe is always ready to attack and his shooting keeps defenders off-balance.
Zoom Diallo, Curtis (Tacoma, Wash.) 6-4 PG 2024
His high school season is not officially over, as FAB 50 No. 38 Curtis will participate in the State Champions Invitational beginning April 6. Diallo did nothing to dispel the notion that he’s the top point guard in the rising senior class. Diallo is always in control and plays the game one step ahead of his peers. Basketball is about who controls the space on the floor both the offensive and defensive player claim the right to and Diallo gets where he wants on the floor like no guard in the high school game right now, using his positional size and skill to control tempo.
A.J. Dybantsa, St. Sebastian (Needham, Mass.) 6-8 SF 2026
A strong and physical wing who is already well-known on the circuit because of his middle school exploits and highlight reels, Dybantsa is both a good player now and someone down the line who can challenge for the top spot in the national class. He uses his size and strength to get downhill and has enough wiggle to create space and score on secondary moves. He moves well without the ball, too, and has a jumper with sound mechanics. Dybantsa reminds us some of former high school star and future NBA player Tim Thomas when he was a young player at now defunct Paterson Catholic in New Jersey in the mid 1990s.
Caleb Gaskins, Holy Trinity Episcopal (Melbourne, Fla.) 6-7 SF 2026
The 2025 and 2026 is off to a good start, as scouts and NBA scouts are looking forward to evaluating them more as they are not particularly thrilled with what they’ve seen of the 2023 and 2024 classes, so far. As far as 2026 goes, Gaskins gets our nod as the most impressive overall performer in Houston. He’s a terrific all-around talent with explosiveness, strength and a good skill level. Gaskin is hardly ever sped up and has good instincts on both sides of the ball. He is a quality passer, covers ground with the dribble and has a good outside shot. It is hard to find a major weakness in his game right now.
Tre Johnson, Lake Highlands (Richardson, Texas) 6-5 SG 2024
No surprise here, as Johnson is coming off a historic season for FAB 50 No. 8 Lake Highlands and was arguably the top performer in attendance. The other two you can make a strong argument for as the most impactful were Koa Peat and Meleek Thomas. Johnson has improved his crossover and uses it to create space and get good scoring looks in the tightest of spaces. Overall, he was the most skilled scorer in camp.
Brandon McCoy, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) 6-4 SG 2026
This young combo guard was one of the best defenders and most instinctual players, regardless of class. McCoy got a late start to his freshman season but made the most of it, helping Bosco to the CIF Southern Section open title game with his big play ability. McCoy can alter nearly any shot at the rim or strip ball-handlers clean in the open court. He’s also active on offense and a terrific offensive rebounder with a nose for the ball.
Koa Peat, Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.) 6-8 SF 2025
This powerful wing is one of the best players in the country, regardless of class. He’s simply too skilled for bigger defenders and too powerful for smaller ones, making him a matchup nightmare. Peat was the best offensive rebounder of the lot and can get things done even when his shot is not on because of his ability to get to the line.
Darryn Peterson, Cuyahoga Valley Christian (Cuyahoga Valley, Ohio) 6-5 SG 2025
A strong guard with good size and physical gifts, Peterson can find seams to score as well as anyone in attendance. He has a nice release on his jump shot and a relaxed disposition to his game. He also can move without the ball and reminds us a bit of Kentucky’s Chris Livingston, only with more wiggle and fluidity.
Meleek Thomas, Lincoln Park (Midland, Pa.) 6-4 SG 2025
Coming off a state championship season for Lincoln Park, Thomas impressed onlookers with his approach, intensity and explosive fundamentals. There is little wasted motion in Thomas’ game, and he gets downhill quickly and efficiently. He’s a three level scorer and works hard on the defensive end to get over screens and get to the correct spots on the floor. With his dynamic personality, combined with his trademark Western PA-like toughness and skill level, the sky is the limit for this talented rising junior.
Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached at [email protected]. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores